Friday, August 4, 2023

Maybe a decentish economy for the rest of the year?

Via the New York Times, this relatively good news:

Good news is bad news: It had been the mantra in economic circles ever since inflation took off in early 2021. A strong job market and rapid consumer spending risked fueling further price increases and evoking a more aggressive response from the Federal Reserve. So every positive report was widely interpreted as a negative development.

But suddenly, good news is starting to feel good again.

Inflation has finally begun to moderate in earnest, even as economic growth has remained positive and the labor market has continued to chug along. But instead of interpreting that solid momentum as a sign that conditions are too hot, top economists are increasingly seeing it as evidence that America’s economy is resilient. It is capable of making it through rapidly changing conditions and higher Fed interest rates, allowing inflation to cool gradually without inflicting widespread job losses.

...Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, thinks the United States will pull off a soft landing — perhaps one so soft that the Fed might be able to lower inflation over time without unemployment having to rise.

But he also thinks that growth needs to remain below its typical rate, and that wage growth must slow from well above 4 percent to something more like 3.5 percent to guarantee that inflation fully fades.

“The room for above-trend growth is quite limited,” Mr. Hatzius said, explaining that if growth does come in strong he could see a scenario in which the Fed might lift interest rates further. Officials raised rates to a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent at their meeting last month, and investors are watching to see whether they will follow through on the one final rate move that they had earlier forecast for 2023.

I have genuinely no idea how the economy will look, especially for chemists this fall. It's obviously my hope that there are sufficient openings for chemists of all levels, and also plenty of wage growth. My guess that fall 2023 will be worse than fall 2022, but not by much. Best wishes to job seekers this fall, and to all of us. 

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